Shoshana Grossbard | Economics of the Family and the Household



1. Gary Becker & Shoshana Grossbard letter exchange

Becker, August 2010. "with a few exceptions"  What could these exceptions be? 

2. exchange over Shoshana Grossbard's idea: "married WOMEN decide individually about taking JOBS, comparing costs (including lower income transfers from husband) and benefits."

Idea presented in a 1994 Wall Street Journal WSJ article titled "Young Women May Trade Jobs for Marriage" and based on research by Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman and Clive Granger, winner of the 1993 Nobel prize in economics. The cited research was presented at the 1994 meetings of the American Economic Association and published in the French journal Population in 1998. Original article in French. Here is an  English Translation.

Defending the idea: 

  • Gary Becker, winner of 1992 Nobel prize in economics, defending my idea, cited in the article: "I don't think feminists should get upset with [Grossbard's] work, says Dr. Becker, himself a frequent target of feminists. "I don't think they [the feminists] would want to deny that there is an economic bargaining component within marriage."

  • Kathryn L. Shaw, now the Ernest C. Arbuckle Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, defending my idea, cited in the article: "Men's income does indirectly compensate women for working at home." "I don't know we can't just come out and say it. Some women do--and more women should-- think of their husband's income as compensation for things at home [the men] aren't doing."

  • Response to Barbara Bergmann's criticism (below) by Nancy Folbre, prominent feminist economist and past recipient of McArthur genius award, femecon 1994

Criticizing the idea: 

Barbara Bergmann, then Professor of economics at American University, in a 1994 post on LISTSERV by femecon (then maintained by Jean Shackelford at the critique, posted here, ends with "SHOSHONA! TRY A LITTLE HARDER TO SHAKE THE DUST OF SEXIST CHICAGO FROM YOUR SHOES."

Response to Barbara Bergmann by Don (now Deirdre) McCloskey, prominent economist, on femecon 1994 

Further discussion of the idea in the first issue of Feminist Economics , 1(1), 1995:

Response by Myra Strober:

My response to M Strober:

3. On the economic approach to marriage.

Here is a citation from Gary Becker. I share what some have called his ‘mercenary’ approach, but not to justify a traditional division of labor. Those who work in household production (often women) should not be exploited, they should fight for their rights and for adequate compensation.

"Becker's critics thought that marriage, for example, was about romance, not about maximizing your utility," said [Richard]Posner. "Gary would write about division of responsibilities, where the husband is bringing in the money and the money is being used to finance the wife's work, to take care of the kids and so forth. That way of looking at things really offended people. It seemed so mercenary!"